Why is Sexual Health Important?
Sexual health can be affected by a range of infections and diseases that are associated with sexual activity, the genital area, and your reproductive organs. In some cases, these infections are acute and easily treated. However, some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be lifelong or lead to chronic conditions that can affect your quality of life and reproductive capacity.
In many cases, STIs do not cause any symptoms, but can still be passed between sexual partners. STIs increase the risk of contracting Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), a chronic disease that requires lifelong treatment. In men, untreated STIs can lead to chronic prostate pain, scrotal pain, complications of the urinary tract, and infertility. In women, STIs can also lead to a host of reproductive complications including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which may cause ectopic pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain, preterm birth, and infertility.
What Diseases are Associated with Sexual Health?
The majority of STI cases involve Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomonas, Mycoplasma genitalium, as well as various infections of the urinary tract and vagina. Most of these infections affect both women and men.
How Common are STIs?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are approximately 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) each year in the United States, and that men in particular are not adequately tested for STIs.
Sexual Health Testing from BioReference
Because each STI pathogen requires a different drug for treatment, it is important to know sexual status. BioReference offers Sexual Health Profiles for Males and Females that provide physicians with comprehensive results for multiple organisms from easy-to-collect samples (blood and urine), without the need for traditional vaginal or urethral swabs.
When to Get Tested
Anyone can have an STI or infection of the genital or urinary organs. If you have pain during urination, pain during intercourse, genital pain, pelvic pain, genital bleeding, or genital discharge, you should be tested for an STI or urinary/genital infection. BioReference offers a simple test that can be performed on a urine sample, providing quick and easy diagnosis.
Certain factors can also put you at higher risk for STIs and genitourinary disease. If you have a new sexual partner, multiple sexual partners, are under the age of 25, or practice unprotected sex, then you are at higher risk for STIs and HIV infection.
The proper diagnosis and treatment of STIs are key in preventing transmission to your sexual partner. Speak with your physician to confirm if testing is right for you.